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Election is an essential component of a democratic process because it allows citizens to determine fairly and freely who should lead them at every level of government on a regular basis and make decisions that shape their socioeconomic and political destiny; and if they fail, they still have the power to recall or vote them out in the next election.

Election is a major instrument for the recruitment of political leadership in democratic societies; the key to participation in a democracy; and the method of giving consent to government (Dye, 2001); and allowing the governed to choose and pass judgement on office holders who theoretically represent the governed Obakhedo, (2011).

A democracy cannot exist in its purest form without elections. Huntington is quick to point out that a political system is democratic “to the extent that its most powerful collective decision-makers are selected through fair, honest, and periodic elections in which candidates freely compete for votes and virtually all of the adult population is eligible to vote.”

Huntingdon (1991). Nwolise (2007) defines election as “the process of selecting the officers or representatives of an organisation or group by the vote of its qualified members.” Elections, according to Anifowose (2003), are the process of elite selection by the mass of the public in any particular political system, according to Bamgbose (2012).

Elections provide as a forum for various interest groups within the bourgeois nation state to stake and resolve their claims to power peacefully (Iyayi, 2005). Elections thus determine the proper method of ensuring that competent leaders assume the mantle of authority.
An election is a method in which the electorate, or a portion of it, selects those who hold public office and exercises some degree of influence over the elected individuals. It is the method by which people choose and control their representatives. This implies that there can be no representative government without elections.

This assumption is, to a considerable part, valid, because elections are arguably the most reliable means of holding the government and representatives accountable to the people who elect them.

Eya (2003), on the other hand, defines election as the selection of a person or persons for office via vote and the making of a choice amongst alternatives. Ozor (2009) provides a more encompassing and comprehensive definition of election

when he states that the term refers to the procedure by which qualified adult voters elect their politically preferred representatives to a county’s legislature (or any other public positions) for the purpose of farming and running the country’s government.

Thus, Osumah (2002) elucidates the core goal of elections, which is to select official decision makers who are intended to represent the interests of citizens. Elections, he believes, increase and broaden people engagement in the political system.

However, elections in Nigeria have always been marked by violence and a heightened sense of national insecurity as a result of the countrymen’s ethnic and religious emotions.

Nigeria’s 2015 general elections, the fifth since 1999, were originally set for 14th and 28th February 2015, but were later moved to 28th March and 11th April 2015. All 36 states held presidential, federal legislature, and House of Assemblies (state legislature) elections. 29 states had gubernatorial elections. Nigerian general elections have traditionally been tumultuous and violent occasions.

Indeed, the 2007 election polls were universally denounced as the most violent, poorly organised, and significantly corrupted in Nigerian electoral history. Even the presidential pool winner, a relative of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, admitted to problems.

In comparison to the 2007 elections, which saw over 1,000 people died in post-election protests, some analysts and observers regarded the April 2011 elections to be the most trustworthy since the return to democracy.

Nigeria’s electoral history has been characterised by major anomalies and controversy, particularly in the conduct of the country’s electoral commission.

This has resulted in the failure of democratic experiments in several situations, such as in 1966 and 1983. The 2007 general elections in Nigeria gave an excellent opportunity to break with the past and revive popular trust in the country’s electoral and democratic processes.

However, this was not to be, as the elections turned out to be the worst in Nigeria’s political history, according to various local and foreign observers (European Union: 2007, Human Rights Watch: 2007, Transition Monitoring Group: 2007).

INEC, like its predecessors, has been accused of failing to instill public trust in the electoral process or to organise transparent and trustworthy elections. Unfortunately, this position has received little systematic support.

The March 28th and April 11th, 2015 elections heralded a new chapter in Nigeria’s democratic history, when registered voters went to the polls to pick the next set of leaders to the seats of President and National Assembly.

The elections, held in the country’s thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory, saw the creation of the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and its candidate.

This was also the first time since Nigeria’s transition to civil rule in 1999 where an opposition party defeated the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP).

A free and fair election is the bedrock of competitive elections and democracy. The degree to which an election victory is credible and legitimate is decided by the degree to which the process is free and fair (Garuba, 2007; Bogaards, 2007). A free and fair election serves to legitimise such government.

In reality, election quality is one of the measures used to judge the extent of consolidation of emerging democracies. Elections are thus regarded as essential for determining the democratic quality of a political system and safeguarding national security. When elections are not handled properly, they can lead to deeper ethnic and regional divisions, a loss of legitimacy for elected officials, protest,

violent contestation, social upheaval, and doubt about institutions, violence, and instability, and even threaten the entire democratisation process. In fact, inadequate election management is a serious and widespread source of conflict, violence, insecurity, and instability (Hounkpe & Gueye, 2010).

Some factors may have contributed to the lower attendance in 2015 compared to 2011. For starters, it could indicate that previous election results were overstated. Second, there was a general air of unease.

among Nigerians, with grounds such as the Boko Haram insurgency in the north, the potential of the incumbent refusing to recognise the conclusion of the election if it is not favourable,

the consequences of the election postponement, Furthermore, there is a widespread belief that ‘votes do not count’ and that the outcomes are predetermined by an elite few. However, this study compares the 2011 and 2015 general elections to examine the electoral process and national security.

The following are the study’s objectives:

To investigate the relationship between Nigeria’s electoral process and national security.

To compare and contrast the general election processes in Nigeria in 2011 and 2015.

To investigate the factors that support national security throughout an election process.

What is the relationship between Nigeria’s electoral process and national security?

What are the differences and similarities between Nigeria’s general elections in 2011 and 2015?

What are the factors in an electoral process that support national security?

HO: There is no link between the voting process and national security.

HA: There is a strong link between the electoral process and national security.

The following are the study’s implications:

The study’s findings will inform the general public on the relationship between the political process and national security. It will also educate on the contrasts and similarities between Nigeria’s general elections in 2011 and 2015.

This study will contribute to the body of literature on the effect of personality traits on student academic achievement, forming the empirical literature for future research in the field.

This research will look at the electoral process and national security in Nigeria, with an emphasis on the general elections in 2011 and 2015.


Financial constraint- A lack of funds tends to restrict the researcher’s efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data collection procedure (internet, questionnaire, and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will conduct this investigation alongside other academic activities. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

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